Jerusalem Suburb Walking Tour (Self Guided), Jerusalem

The center of Jerusalem spills over with religious and historical landmarks, museums and holy places. But there are also places worth visiting in neighborhoods away from the center. A Biblical Zoo, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and others cannot be missed and must figure in the itinerary of each tourist. The following self-guided tour will lead you through some of these distant places which are nevertheless worth a visit:
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Jerusalem Suburb Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Jerusalem Suburb Walking Tour
Guide Location: Israel » Jerusalem (See other walking tours in Jerusalem)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.4 Km or 5.2 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial
  • Mount Herzl
  • Hamifletzet
  • Church of the Visitation
  • Church of Saint John the Baptist
  • Mexico Park
  • Biblical Zoo
Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial

1) Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial (must see)

The Yad Vashem is a tribute to the Jewish people who were murdered during the Holocaust. It is the country’s official memorial to the six million plus people who died during that dark part of the history of WWII. In terms of size and depth, it is the world’s largest repository of information about the tragic event. It is also designed to be the nation’s official archive.

The institution was organized in 1953. The Knesset passed the law to allow the institution to be built. The plan was to let this place be a memorial to the people put to death by the Nazis during WWII. It is located on Har Hazikaron, which is a gently sloping hill on the west side of Jerusalem. It has many monuments, as well as a history museum, a center for Holocaust Research, and a national archive.

Some of the exhibits worth seeing are the Hall of Remembrance, the underground Children’s Memorial, the Valley of the Communities, the Memorial to the Deportees, and the Holocaust History Museum. The Yad Vashem documents are stored there. This archive piece holds 55 million papers and has collected around 100,000 photos. There are also films of testimonies of the survivors, which were shot to help historians have a permanent record of the event from the perspective of the people who lived through it. It is a part of the place that you will want to see.

The Yad Vashem School for Holocaust Studies is one of the biggest schools in the country. Each year, over 150,000 students take classes there. It is also visited, as a research facility, by thousands of educators each year.

Make sure you grab a map and an audio set (with headphones) available in every language.
There are also many displays of memorials outside, so don't forget to walk around inside the gardens.

Opening Hours:
Sun-Wed: 8:30am-5pm, Thu: 8:30am-8pm, Friday & holiday eves: 8:30am-2pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Mount Herzl

2) Mount Herzl (must see)

Mount Herzl is home to two of the most horrific and emotionally draining landmarks in all of Israel. The main location is the official burial site of many famous Zionists, Israeli politicians, and others who influenced the development of the State of Israel. Perhaps one of the most famous people interred here is Theodor Herzl. Yitzhak Rabin and Golda Meir have also been laid to rest close-by, among the beautiful trees, and quiet rolling hills.

Upon first look, one is impressed by the massive number of soldiers that are buried here. This is made worse by the fact that most died as teens. There is a rough organizational pattern to the place, which is based upon various wars fought by the country. The first section will take you through the burial place of the Veterans of the War of Independence. Many of the soldiers were only 15- or 16-years-old during the fierce fighting for the establishment of a Jewish homeland.

Yad VaShem – the state memorial to and museum of the Holocaust – is also located here.

Consider taking the light rail to the cemetery and then after following the self-guided tour, walk the short direct trail from the cemetery to Yad VaShem.

Opening Hours:
Sun-Thu: 4:45-8pm; Fri: 2-8pm; Sat: 9am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

3) Hamifletzet

The “monster” or Hamifletzet is actually a playground sculpture that is located in Kiryat Yovel’s Rabinovich Park. The official name of the artwork is The Golem, but rarely is it called that. The sculpture is a slide that is made of concrete. The Golem was created by the Jewish-French artist Niki de Sainte Phalle who also did children’s playground art for the Biblical Zoo.

According to the artist, The Golem is supposed to represent a large woman who reigns over the park in a pleasant way. By doing this she manages to shatter the image of a fragile woman. Children come through a hole as they climb up the ladder and this is supposed to represent the birthing process.

While that may be too esoteric for some, the kids love the bright black and white sculpture with plenty of climbing space. As they come out of the big, bright red fleshy mouth of the sculpture, they have a choice of three bright red tongues to slide down to land in soft sand. So while some may call it a monster, the kids love the thing and several generations of children have spent carefree hours climbing and sliding here. While there are other rides here, and the grounds are beautiful and peaceful, this is definitely the centerpiece of the park.
Church of the Visitation

4) Church of the Visitation

The Church of the Visitation is so named because it is on the site that was traditionally thought to be the summer home of the parents of John the Baptist. This is located in the village of Ein Kerem or Judah, which is on the west side of Jerusalem. Mary made a trip to see her cousin Elizabeth. Little did she realize that both women were pregnant. Elizabeth would give birth to John the Baptist.

According to the accounting of Luke 1:40 in the New Testament; the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leapt for joy when she heard Mary. Mary stayed with Elizabeth until she gave birth to John and then she returned to her home.

The church that stands now was built in 1955 on top of ancient church remains and is Franciscan. The 5-cross is on top of the church and is the Franciscan’s symbol and it represents the five wounds that Jesus sustained during the crucifixion. A gorgeous mosaic is on the front of the building that shows Mary riding a donkey from Nazareth on her way to meet Elizabeth. She is accompanied on her journey by angels to guide her and the unborn child. Inside, there are equally beautiful paintings of various Biblical scenes. There is also the well that John and his family would have gotten water from.

Visitation is free and the hours are from 9am-12am and again from 2pm to 4pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of Saint John the Baptist

5) Church of Saint John the Baptist

The Church of Saint John the Baptist is located in the Christian quarter of Jerusalem. There is another church of the same name on the Mount of Olives so don’t get confused. This is the one that has the beautiful silver dome. It was built originally around 450 CE, probably to house the relics of John the Baptist that was distributed to various holy cities.

The church was destroyed by the Persians in 614 and lay in ruins until the 11th century CE. At that time the church was rebuilt over its old foundation and has remained essentially unchanged for the last 1,000 years. It became the home of the Knights Hospitallers. Knights that were wounded in the Crusades were nursed back to health here and some remained to carry on the work of healing the injured and protected pilgrims to the Holy Land.

The Church might have been a mosque for a brief period of time, but has almost always been in the hands of the Greek Orthodox Church. The crypt that is under the church was one time left in ruin but was rediscovered in the 19th century. There was a lovely reliquary that was discovered in the crypt that is now housed in the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate Museum.

The church is not regularly open; however, if there is a priest there from the Greek Orthodox monastery, he will gladly open it for visitors.
Mexico Park

6) Mexico Park

Mexico Park is a fun park for kids. It is called Mexico Park as it has a playground with a Mexican sombrero at the top. There are amazing sculptures in the park.
Biblical Zoo

7) Biblical Zoo (must see)

This establishment has had several different names and locations over the years. The correct name for the current facility is The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem, but it is still known as the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo. It is one of the top five most visited attractions in Jerusalem and has a very successful endangered species breeding program.

The original zoo opened in 1940 and was the brainchild of Aharon Shulov who was a professor of zoology at Hebrew University. The idea was to have a place where people could come and see the animals that were mentioned in the Bible. However, problems emerged almost immediately. Some animals that were mentioned in the Bible were long since extinct in Israel while others had ambiguous names. Also, the neighbors were unhappy with the smell and noise, not to mention the possibility of wild animals escaping in neighborhoods.

The zoo moved to a new site in 1941 and was placed on a 1-acre lot. Complaints abounded here too and the zoo was again moved in 1947 to Mount Scopus in land donated by the University. Unfortunately, the Arab-Israeli War cut off the animals from their steady food supply and many of them died. In 1949 the UN helped move the animals to a 15-acre lot. The number of animals had dwindled from 122 to 5. The zoo slowly rebuilt and became very popular with the community. Religious groups that normally did not socialize could peacefully coexist in the zoo – the animals seemed to have a rather healing effect.

In 1993 the zoo was moved to its present location with the mission to appeal to the secular and religious families in the region. The zoo remains a huge favorite and now boasts over 2,000 animals over 270 different species. In a brilliant arrangement, the fruits and vegetables that feed all the animals are given to the zoo for free. During Passover the entire zoo is chametz-free and the animals are given matzo to eat rather than leavened bread products, while birds are fed rice.

Be aware that you need to be rather fit to see the whole zoo, as there is a lot of walking to do, and half of it is uphill...
If you like to enjoy quietness, come in the morning hours during the work week to avoid crowds.

Opening Hours:
Sun-Thu: 9am-5pm, Fridays & holiday eves: 9am-4:30pm, Saturday & holidays: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Jerusalem, Israel

Create Your Own Walk in Jerusalem

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Creating your own self-guided walk in Jerusalem is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Jerusalem Museums Walking Tour

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Jerusalem is the historic land of the Bible. It is sacred to the three great monotheist religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Here you will find archaeological and historical museums full of artifacts dating back to high antiquity. This self-guided tour will take you through some of the most visited museums of Jerusalem:

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 Km or 3.3 Miles
Following Steps of Jesus Walking Tour in Jerusalem

Following Steps of Jesus Walking Tour in Jerusalem

Jerusalem was considered for centuries to be the center of the universe. The most famous figure in the history of mankind, Jesus Christ, fulfilled his divine mission in this city. This self-guided tour will retrace the steps of Jesus to show you some of the holiest places in the world.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 Km or 3.5 Miles
Mount of Olives Walking Tour of Jerusalem

Mount of Olives Walking Tour of Jerusalem

The Mount of Olives is on the east side of the Old City of Jerusalem. Here you will see the magnificent churches that are also biblical sites, a very old cemetery with tombs of the Prophets. For many people this is a holy place as God is always present here. The following self-guided tour will lead you through the Mount of Olives landmarks:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Jerusalem Jaffa Road Walking Tour

Jerusalem Jaffa Road Walking Tour

Jaffa Road is the oldest and longest street in Jerusalem. There are many museums, shops, restaurants, and art galleries that line this street. The famous Jerusalem pedestrian malls are all located on the intersections of this street. This self-guided tour will lead you through the most visited landmarks on this street:

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Cultural Walking Tour of Jerusalem

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Jerusalem is considered holy by the all the three major monotheistic religions in the world - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The city is full of history and culture. The following self-guided tour will take you through some of the most visited landmarks in the city.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
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Jerusalem, capital of Israel, is a stage of history for the entire universe, so to speak. Its religious and historical landmarks attract more tourists than any other city in the world. This self-guided tour will lead you through its most visited landmarks:

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.7 Km or 3.5 Miles

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